FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Two startups founded by current University of Arkansas students are among the three newest companies at Startup Village, which provides free co-working space in downtown Fayetteville to seed-stage ventures.
Located in the historic Hathcock building at the corner of Block Avenue and Dickson Street, Startup Village provides reservable desk and office space as well as shared services, including a conference room, kitchen, printer, WiFi, phones and mailboxes. The Village also shares space with the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.
The companies — Nyarai Skincare, Rejoicy, and Crimson Fox Design Co. — join tech startup AutoWillow, which is developing an autonomous lawn care robot.
Nayari Skin Care was founded by Warrenesha Arnold, a senior in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences majoring in human nutrition and dietetics. She was inspired by personal skincare problems to start the company, which is vegan based and offers products that fight acne, dark spots, scars and fine lines.
Startup Village will provide space for brainstorming and problem-solving while allowing for quality work time, Arnold said.
“I look forward to connecting with more entrepreneurs and gaining access to resources that will guide and help elevate my brand,” she added.
Grace Underfanger, a junior studying graphic design and business, established Crimson Fox Design Co. to help businesses connect with and cultivate their communities. A specialist in apparel merchandise design, Underfanger has worked with national brands and local companies.
Established in 2021, Rejoicy was co-founded by U of A alum Luke Brown and Edwin Ortiz. The company helps promote online sales by providing a way for business owners to create a quick and affordable website.
Startup Village opened in November 2019 with two companies, Lapovations and MORE Technologies, which have since “graduated” from the space. Lapovations developed a laparoscopic device it calls AbGrab that enables surgeons to lift the abdomen less invasively and more reliably prior to surgery. In June 2021, the company received a $100,000 Small Businesses Innovation Research Phase II Matching Grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Meanwhile, MORE Technologies, which specialized in the sale of 3-D printing robots, sold its technology assets and patents in March 2021 to a Colorado-based company that makes programmable robots and educational tools for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics fields — or the STEAM fields.
Membership into Startup Village is free, and companies are selected through a competitive annual membership application process. Leases span six months and have a one-year max.
“My favorite part of the Village is that it houses companies across all different industries, yet every member can relate to one another in facing the ins and outs of running a startup,” said Morgan Walker, program manager for entrepreneurship initiatives at OEI, who oversees the Startup Village as part of OEI’s business incubation function.
“The Village also presents the perfect environment for collaboration,” Walker added. “Your company needs some graphic design expertise? Well, Crimson Fox Design Co. is the next desk over!”
About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and curates innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students across all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village, and Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, OEI provides free workshops and programs — including social and corporate innovation design teams, venture internships, competitions and startup coaching. A unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Division of Economic Development, OEI also offers on-demand support for students who will be innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs who start something new.